Israel’s cyber-tech company, Cellebrite, has reportedly been providing spy technology to Pakistan’s security forces, including the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), since 2012, according to a recent Haaretz report.
The Nasdaq-listed Israeli firm specializes in producing the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED). This product is designed to aid law enforcement agencies by bypassing phone security to access stored data, such as photographs, documents, text messages, call histories, and contacts.
The Haaretz report suggests that the FIA and several police units in Pakistan, infamous for alleged human rights abuses, have been utilizing Cellebrite’s tools. These allegations have previously been underscored by the U.S. State Department’s 2022 human rights report, which detailed issues including arbitrary killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and extreme restrictions on freedom of expression and the media in Pakistan.
These revelations have sparked concerns among Baloch activists, who accuse Pakistan’s security forces of oppressive surveillance and human rights violations. The public disclosure of this technology hints at the potential for increased intensity or scale of surveillance practices.
This situation raises questions given Pakistan’s official non-recognition of Israel and its legal prohibition on travel to the country. The report hints at a covert technological partnership, which could provoke controversy within Pakistan. The country has committed to recognizing Israel only once a Palestinian state is established in accordance with the UN-mandated two-state solution.
The revelation could have wide-ranging implications, potentially affecting Pakistan’s international relationships and domestic policy. It may also prompt closer scrutiny of Pakistan’s commitment to human rights standards and its own foreign policy principles.